By Carl Jaeger
Beyond Meat opens beyond expectations.
The plant-based food company made its public debut on Thursday, jumping more than 160 percent by the end of the day and closing at $65.75 a share.
"We've really been focused on one thing, which is to build a piece of meat perfectly from plants," Beyond Meat($BYND) co-founder and CEO Ethan Brown told Cheddar.
Part of the company's strategy is pairing its products with national brands like Applebee’s, Carl’s Jr. and Del Taco.
“As you can see, they’re on the cutting edge. And as we researched this we wanted to be more on the cutting edge as well,” said Anne Albertine, who is the research and development director for Del Taco ($TACO).
The California-based taco chain announced a partnership with Beyond Meat that includes both vegetarian and vegan versions of its popular menu items.
The new items are targeted toward “flexitarians” -- people who occasionally eat animals products but are often looking for meat-free alternatives.
“Consumers understand the benefits of plant-based and becoming more concerned with that and wanting that, so they want choice,” Albertine said.
The Beyond Meat tacos cost about $1 more than the carnivorous alternatives, but Albertine says the company expects that price to drop as they increase in popularity.
The preparation process is the same, but the tacos are served in specially designed paper sleeves, meant to protect the Beyond Meat tacos from cross contamination.
The two companies formed a partnership that allowed Del Taco to develop a unique recipe using its own spices and Beyond Meats' plant-based products.
And when it comes to competing with the other Mexican chains, Albertine says Del Taco’s focus on quality and freshness makes their menu items stand out.
“Our North Star is really about having quality in everything we do,” she said. “As you eat that, I really think you can tell the difference.”
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